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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Income Tax Act

Does being an Ontario not-for-profit corporation mandate audited financial statements?

Given that many (although certainly not all) not-for-profit corporations (“NFPs”), both charitable and non-charitable, have a December year end and are preparing for their year end financial reporting, we thought it timely to provide a reminder about the financial disclosure requirements contained in their governing corporate legislation.

 

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Registered charities get ready to submit applications for Ontario property tax rebates

The deadline for registered charities (and eligible, similar entities) to submit property tax rebate applications for 2015 is the last day of February, 2016. Given the many variables that may be involved in an application, and the opportunities for early submission and therefore earlier cashflows, now is a good time to get started on rebate applications.

 

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Supreme Court rules against director of a charity

As Counsel for Ms. Guindon in her case with the Minister of National Revenue we have kept our readers abreast of developments as the appeal wended its way to the Supreme Court of Canada. On July 31st, 2015 the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the matter thus ending the appeal for Ms. Guindon. The Supreme Court found…

 

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Tips for dealing with CRA audits

The Income Tax Act confers on the CRA a broad range of powers to audit Canadian taxpayers, including registered charities and not-for-profit organizations (“NPOs”). Some examples of those audit powers that have been conferred on CRA include the power to inspect books and records, as well as to compel taxpayers to respond to requests for information or obtain third-party records at CRA’s request (potentially subject to CRA having received judicial authorization for the request).

 

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NQS, GRE and the ITA – Three letters, two concepts, and one complicated issue

Over a year ago then Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that there would be major changes in the way Canadians would be taxed at death. The new system created what was called a Graduated Rate Estate which, amongst other things, entitles the estate of a taxpayer to the graduated rates of tax which are applied to living taxpayers. After 36 months the estate, if not wound up by then, would be taxed at the highest marginal rates.

 

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Charities and related businesses

Registered charities, except charities designated as private foundations, may run related businesses; however, the Income Tax Act does not define what a related business is except to state that a volunteer-run business is to be considered a related business even if there is no link between the business and the objects of a charity.

 

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What can a non-profit organization pay out to its members?

A recent CRA ruling conveniently breaks down some of the rules about how a non-profit organization (NPO) may distribute its assets, including during wind-up, without risking its tax-exempt status…

 

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How long is it? Records retention basics

What are the time limits for those boxes accumulating dust in the archives? Does all backup material need to be kept or just the final product? Who is actually making sure that this happens?

 

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CRA puts federally-incorporated charities on notice

In September, we received a number of inquires from charities that received alarming letters from the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate with regard to keeping their registered charity status under the Income Tax Act.

 

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Charity how to: What to do when faced with an issue of non-compliance

When a charity becomes aware that it has been non-compliant with either the Income Tax Act or the common law, it can cause great anxiety within the organization. According to the CRA, however, most non-compliance issues are “unintentional, accidental, and often of low material consequence,” and they encourage charities to disclose any non-compliance issue to the Charities Directorate. Non-compliance issues that charities might experience include:

 

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New penalties for businesses that use illegal electronic sales suppression software

The Canada Revenue Agency is aware that electronic sales suppression software is being marketed and sold to Canadian businesses. As part of its efforts to combat the underground economy, it has introduced new measures to address this problem.

 

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Donor beware: Bolting the barn door after it’s burned to the ground

In a report entitled “Donor Beware”[1] the Tax Ombudsman opined on the CRA’s administrative responsibilities regarding charitable donation tax shelters. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the report is that it is dated March 19th, 2014, after years of legislative implementation of tools for the CRA to crack down on tax shelter promoters, charities, directors of charities and donors connected with such plans. As far as we can tell most offensive tax shelters seem to be shut down albeit leaving several large messes still to be cleaned up.

 

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What is the CRA policy on political advocacy activities carried out by registered charities?

Registered charities have special concerns when it comes to the legal and administrative application of the Income Tax Act. To maintain charitable status under the Act, a charity must devote substantially all of its resources to charitable purposes and activities—and avoid excessive political activity…

 

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